Washington, Oct 21 (EFE).- The United States House of Representatives held Donald Trump ally Steve Bannon in contempt Thursday for defying a subpoena from the panel investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol by supporters of the then-president trying to block congressional certification of Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.
The vote was 229-202, with nine Republicans joining the Democratic majority to refer the matter to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution.
Bannon, 67, could face a fine and up to 12 months behind bars, though contempt charges rarely result in jail time.
During an appearance earlier Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Merrick Garland gave no indication as to how he would proceed in the event of a contempt referral for Bannon.
“The Department of Justice will do what it always does in such circumstances, we’ll apply the facts and the law and make a decision, consistent with the principles of prosecution,” he said.
The full House took up the matter two days after the select committee investigating the events of Jan. 6 voted unanimously to hold Bannon in contempt for his refusal to cooperate.
The 67-year-old Bannon told the committee he was unwilling to testify or provide documents until the courts resolve Trump’s claim of executive privilege.
Lawyers for the committee point out that Bannon held no official post in January – having been dismissed from his position as White House senior adviser in 2017 – and that any relevant discussions he had with Trump would not be protected by privilege because the incumbent’s attempts to overturn the results of the Nov. 3 election bore no relation to his duties as president.
Ahead of Thursday’s vote, Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of the two Republicans on the select committee, said that the attempts to invoke executive privilege “suggest that President Trump was personally involved in the planning and execution of Jan. 6.”
Five people died as a result of the disturbances, including a rioter fatally shot by law enforcement and a police officer who suffered a stroke during the confrontation.
The select committee wants to ask Bannon about comments he made during a Jan. 5 episode of his podcast.
“All hell is going to break loose tomorrow,” Bannon told listeners. “So many people said, ‘Man, if I was in a revolution, I would be in Washington.’ Well, this is your time in history.”
He offered those remarks on the eve of a “Stop the Steal” rally in the capital by Trump supporters who embraced his unfounded accusations of election fraud.
Addressing his partisans on the morning of Jan. 6, Trump urged them to march to the Capitol. EFE